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Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in Pubs | 0 comments

The Hand in Hand

The Hand in Hand

If you had just one word to describe the Hand in Hand on Upper St James’ Street, Kemp Town, that word would be SMALL. If, however, you had two words to use, you’d most likely plump for QUIRKY as the second. For this cosy and quaint old fashioned city boozer is teeny tiny but packs a lot of punch.

It may very well be the smallest pub in Brighton, although the Queensbury Arms just off Regency Square might have something to say about that. Either way, it’s very small, and the floor space is probably less than that of your average front room. But despite its poky interior this pub really does offer an awful lot to both seasoned and casual imbibers. For a start it offers some excellent entertainment that you won’t often find elsewhere in the city, including a vintage 1970s table top multi game arcade machine which allows for two player Space Invaders, among other retro gaming classics, and there’s also a charming old skool 10p fruit machine of the one armed bandit variety. As well as these every day entertainment options the Hand in Hand regularly hosts musical events such as live jazz musicians and 1920s swing DJs using an authentic wind up gramophone. You wouldn’t think there was room for such activities and yet they manage to squeeze them in on a regular basis.

When they’re not providing live entertainment you might find yourself being entertained by the dulcet tones of breathy French femmes on Brighton favourite FIP. The Parisian radio station has a history in the city after it was illegally broadcast by local enthusiasts who relayed the signal across Brighton and Hove, and its wonderful blend of eclectic beats, obscure jazz and quirky pop – never interrupted by annoying adverts – provides an excellent background ambience that’s perfectly suited to this lovely little pub.

And as if that wasn’t enough to recommend the place, beer fans will rejoice in the choice of local ales brewed in the on site microbrewery! The Kemptown Brewery produces a range of different ales you’ll likely never see anywhere else and they’ll usually complement this with another guest ale or two which could come from anywhere near or far. Lager fans will appreciate the premium fizzes on offer in the form of German Hacker-Pschorr and India’s number one, Tiger.

You won’t find a TV offering live sport action UNLESS Wales are doing something important (i.e. playing Rugby). The landlord is a passionate Welshman so expect to see a TV propped up at the end of the bar during the Six Nations. And if you’re lucky enough to visit on St David’s Day you can enjoy some home made Welsh broth.

I must confess that the Hand in Hand is one of my favourite pubs in all of Brighton and I never fail to have a great night here. Perhaps the only thing missing is free wi-fi, although if you’ve got an account with BT you can pick up a BT hotspot and sign in with your details for reliable enough internet access.

At a glance

Food? Very limited bar menu
Free Wi-Fi? No, but you can pick up BT wifi
Drinks promos? No
Children welcome? Not really
Fruit/quiz machines? Vintage fruit machine
Bar games? Retro arcade machine
Garden? No


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